Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 15th, 2013
From the SciGuy blog:
I shared this with a few geneticists I know to get their measure of the research.
First up is Richard Gibbs, one of the key scientists behind the Human Genome Project and director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine:
“As a scientist I would consider anything.The currency of scientific advance is keeping your skepticism at bay. You have to approach these things incredibly agnostically. As I read the paper I asked, is the evidence here compelling? I don’t know. Is there clear evidence of fraud? That’s not apparent. It’s an intriguing hypothesis. One would need to view more sequencing information before supporting the conclusions.”
Specifically, Gibbs said, it’s standard protocol to upload the raw sequencing data which can then be analyzed to determine whether this is a new species, or simply an amalgam of existing species. Only a text file, which is unhelpful, accompanies the paper.
Next is the view from Leonid Kruglyak, a Princeton University geneticist:
“To state the obvious, no data or analyses are presented that in any way support the claim that their samples come from a new primate or human-primate hybrid. Instead, analyses either come back as 100% human, or fail in ways that suggest technical artifacts. They make the bizarre claim that the failures might be caused by novel, nonstandard structure of the DNA (“Electron micrographs of the DNA revealed unusual double strand – single strand – double strand transitions which may have contributed to the failure to amplify during PCR.”) which would mean this DNA was different from DNA in all other known species. There’s also the strange statement they couldn’t deposit sequences in GenBank because it’s a new/unknown taxon — GenBank does that no problem.”
Here’s the view from Todd Disotell, a human origins expert at New York University who has previously tested dozens of DNA samples from people claiming to have Bigfoot DNA.
“It’s clearly a fake Vanity Journal with lots of ShutterStock pictures, misspellings and it was only created on 2/4/13. I’ve only read the abstract and conclusion and neither makes any sense.”